Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Centre for Innovation Research

No 2016/24: The Swedish National Innovation Council: Innovation policy governance to replace linearity with holism

Charles Edquist ()
Additional contact information
Charles Edquist: CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: The Swedish National Innovation Council (NIC) was created by the Prime Minister (Stefan Löfven) in February 2015, and it has now been operating for 18 months. It is personally chaired by the Prime Minister, which is unusual for such councils in other countries. Another atypical characteristic of the Swedish NIC is its dominant and wide focus on innovation rather than on research (for which there is another council in Sweden). The existence of NIC has given innovation policy issues a much higher status and degree of importance both within the government itself and within government agencies, i.e. in the entire state apparatus. NIC has become a major governance instrument in order to transform Swedish innovation policy from being linear towards becoming holistic. The continued separation between innovation policy and research policy is also very important if the linear view shall lose its dominance in the field of innovation policy. The Swedish NIC will be described and analyzed in this paper and its operation will be exemplified by four types of NIC activity. I will show that two of these activities have already been directly successful in influencing innovation policy in practice (state risk capital provision and innovation-related public procurement) and that an interesting development has been taking place in the other two (holistic innovation policy and additionality). These examples will be placed within a framework of the relevant innovation theory and of the development of innovation policy in a larger context.

Keywords: Innovation; Innovation Policy; Holistic innovation policy; Research policy; Linear view; Systems of innovation

JEL-codes: O30; O38; O49; O52

52 pages, August 23, 2016

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